Rail ticket madness

I've written earlier about how the Irish manage to slim down their ticketing arrangements to just one eco-ticket, whereas in the UK you might need eight or more individual tickets - and the various blogs that share my frustration at the waste. The above photo shows (nearly) all the tickets for a journey from London Road Brighton to Manchester and back over a long weekend. I operate on the rule of thumb that you get better deals from the actual train operator you'll be travelling on, so the London the Manchester leg is from Virgin and the Brighton to London bit on Southern. I opted for DIY tickets from Virgin, but I am still expected to carry not only my Senior Railcard, but also the credit card I bought it with. Still, they've managed to put the journey and the seat reservation onto one sheet of A4 paper. For the record, it cost me £11.20 up and £7.60 back.

Now, with Southern, in order to get cheap tickets - £2.45 per single - you have to use a particular train, so for the journey up from my local station London Road Brighton I'll need:
  • a ticket from London Road Brighton to Victoria
  • a seat reservation from London Road to Brighton
  • a seat reservation from Brighton to Victoria
However, you can't reserve seats on these trains, so the seat reservation tickets are redundant!

In addition to these nine tickets (the ninth is the credit card receipt, which includes two other journeys bought at the same time), I will need an Oyster card (or bus pass) to get across London, my Senior Railcard and the aforementioned credit card I bought the tickets with (someone had to pay the full fare recently because her ticket was bought by their son on his credit card - but you shouldn't have to pay penalty charges). Of course I could have bought a ticket from Brighton to Manchester, which would have included travel from Victoria to Euston on the tube, but I reckon that would have worked out more expensive.

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